Government support for small business recovery


25th November, 2020

Nation-wide Government support to aid small business recovery

As Australia’s economic recovery plan moves into full throttle, Government bodies across the nation are offering SMEs tailored support to help keep them on track.

Government support has been a pivotal component of the 2020 narrative for many Australian SMEs. Stimulus packages, grants and various other financial lifelines have allowed businesses to stay afloat during a time of great need.

With the entire country working hard on making a major comeback, the different Government bodies across Australia are stepping up to the plate yet again, offering more support to SMEs as they head into the next phase.

Rebates on digital services for Victorian SMEs

As a result of the pandemic, entire industries have morphed into digital enterprises, and SMEs have been motivated to introduce brand new digital systems into their business operations.

To encourage the purchase and ongoing use of digital business services among its local SMEs, the Victorian State Government has launched its Small Business Digital Adaptation Program.

Under this initiative, the State Government is offering a $1,200 rebate to eligible businesses on the purchase of 12-months’ worth (or however long the $1,200 amount affords them) of specific digital systems, including MYOB products for business management, Shopify for retail e-commerce, and Mr Yum for online hospitality.

A key eligibility criterion for the program includes being able to demonstrate that the business is currently operational and has the capacity and intent to transition out of its existing systems and utilise the digital service purchased.

Rebates are currently available and businesses can register for the program through the Business Victoria website. The initiative will remain open until 28 February 2021, or until funds run out.

In addition to the rebate, the State Government is facilitating training workshops to ensure registered businesses have the knowledge and tools to maximise the functionalities of the digital products purchased through the program.

The Victorian Government is also accepting expressions of interest from digital product suppliers to have their services on offer as part of this program.

SME grants now available in South Australia

As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SA State Government recently launched its second round of grant support for SMEs, offering up to $10,000 to cover ongoing costs, such as rent, utility bills and raw material costs.

SA Premier Steven Marshall also announced that for the first time, business without employees (including sole traders and partnerships) can access up to $3,000 in grant funds to cover ongoing commercial costs.

Grants are currently available and registration will remain open until 28 February 2021*.

For more information about program eligibility and registration, head over to the SA State Government Treasury website.

*This information is current as of 25 January, 2021.

Federal Business Growth Fund ready for launch

After sitting on the backburner for about a year, the Federal Government recently announced that its Business Growth Fund (BGF) is locked, loaded and ready for launch in early 2021.

Read: The Business Growth Fund explained

The fund, which has been modelled based on similar schemes in other countries, is comprised of a consortium of contributors including the Federal Government and some of Australia’s largest banking institutions. The growth fund will offer up to $15 million of equity investment to select SMEs that generate between $2 million and $100 million of annual revenue.

Based on the program guidelines released by the Treasury in October, the fund will aim to spread its investment across a diverse range of industries and regions, and will look to generate returns matching the risk of each investment.

$25 million venture growth fund for Victoria on the way

As part of its 2020 Budget release, the Victorian State Government is expected to announce a new venture growth fund for earlier stage technology businesses, InnovationAus reports.

According to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas, the new fund will focus on and select early stage businesses, co-investing in them with a view of aiding their growth and ability to stay local.

While the details of this new fund are set to be released in the coming days, the new program is expected to work separately to the $250 million Victorian Business Growth Fund, which was announced earlier to 2020 and structured similarly to the Federal Government’s BGF mentioned earlier.

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